You're right about the strength of plywood depending on the orientation. In industrial plywood, each ply is about the same thickness. If and only if there are an odd number of plys, the outside face plys define the strongest orientation, which is usually in the sheet's long dimension. I'm in 100% agreement with you on this.
Then I go look at my 1/2" veneer
plywood and notice two things. First, the veneer thickness is ~1/32" to 1/64" thick (Google agrees) and the three plys inside are ~1/6" thick each. Second, the grain of the outermost inside plys is perpendicular to the veneer grain. It is likely that these plys contribute more to the composite strength than the veneer. In that case, the strong direction is likely to be perpendicular to the orientation of the veneer. If so, this is dumb luck on my part because I payed zero attention to grain.
This is neat stuff. Unfortunately, the text Indychus linked earlier doesn't get into the plys or the distinction between industrial plywood and hardwood veneer. I'm sure somebody has written something. I'm not sure anybody else on this forum cares about learning more.
However, for conventional furniture making, you're right that my veneer grain is in the wrong direction. Yes, it is unattractive. Call me silly, but I don't care. This is not my nice stand, just my cabin fever project. My grandchildren are definitely not inheriting it. This is proof of concept for me. I hope this attitude doesn't offend you too much.
I need to get some water in this baby and turn everybody's attention away from my shoddy carpentry.
Maybe I should take pictures of the first cabinet I built to convince you I'm not a hack. haha!